WASHINGTON - The United States helped France last week during an attempted rescue of a secret agent captured by insurgents in Somalia, US President Barack Obama confirmed on Sunday in a letter to Congress.
The French team was trying to free Denis Allex, held since 2009 by al-Qaida-linked al Shabaab, but insurgents apparently killed their hostage during the raid, along with a commando.
The French defense ministry said that 17 Somali fighters also died in the fight.
"United States combat aircraft briefly entered Somali airspace to support the rescue operation, if needed. These aircraft did not employ weapons during the operation," Obama said in his letter to US lawmakers.